Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA)—the labour union that represents Queen’s faculty and staff—has voted in support of a strike mandate.
82 per cent of the 1077 voters voted in favour of a strike should strike action become necessary. QUFA initiated this member vote at their Fall General Meeting on Dec. 15, with voting opening that day and closing on Wednesday.
“I am very happy to report that we have had an excellent show of support for our bargaining team and the priorities that they are advancing on our behalf at the bargaining table,” Jordan Morelli, QUFA president, said in a press release.
QUFA is six months into renegotiating the 2019-22 Collective Agreement with Queen’s University administration, which expired in June. The union called the strike vote in anticipation of entering conciliation with the administration in January 2023.
To assist negotiations, the Ministry of Labour has appointed a conciliator, which QUFA believes is necessary to move forward. Under this conciliation framework, failure to reach an agreement could lead to job action—like a strike.
“QUFA could be in lawful strike position by early February 2023,” the University said in a statement on Wednesday, which acknowledged the vote. “This does not mean that a strike or lock-out will necessarily occur.”
QUFA published an open letter to Teri Shearer, provost and vice-principal (academic), on Dec. 9, which “express[ed] significant concerns regarding the University’s conduct throughout collective bargaining.”
“Job action is a last resort,” Morelli wrote in the letter. “QUFA is committed to students and the university community at large. We urge the University to instruct its bargaining team to engage with QUFA on all outstanding issues in order to achieve a collective agreement.”
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